The odds of Thomas Vanek resigning here are very long, he declined to be the one of highest paid players in the league to resign with Buffalo to be part of a youth movement.
Vanek's going to have to wait for Donovan, Ness, deHaan, Reinhart,
Pullock to develop, along with the rest of Garth Snow's long list of prospects.
Let's also look at the history of these signings (now limited to eight years) how many of them end with a winning team/Stanley Cup long-term vs the Brad Richards, Elias, Yashin, Kovalchuk, Bryzgalov, Wisniewski, Jeff Carter/Mike Richards, Robert Luongo, Dany Heatley, Chris Drury, Wade Redden contracts?
DiPietro was not front-loaded, but he absolutely goes on that list.
I could list fifty or more players over the years that fit the same criteria, back to when free agency was age thirty one.
Cablevision/Comcast could stock a league with all those players. The AHL may need a lockout before the Rangers are done sending veterans there again.
How many fans are thrilled Ryan Smyth did not take the Islanders offer? Colorado/Kings could not get rid of him fast enough, same with Jason Blake in Toronto.
Feeling terrible about Ehrhoff turning down that twenty million offer that one day he was an Islander? How about Paul Martin, who has struggled in Pittsburgh?
Within a year or two most organizations regret these contracts, are stuck with them, or only can move the player because the agreement was massively front-loaded.
A success story? I cannot think of many. Chara had to move on again from Ottawa to Boston, and lost his 3-0 series lead vs Philadelphia before winning his one cup.
Joe Thornton's been a fantastic player in San Jose, not even close to a Stanley Cup, he also was traded there from the Bruins originally.
Charles Wang will almost certainly have to front-load his first contract ever with no ticket revenue from the worst fan base in the NHL that provide him nothing but red-ink/lowest attendance.
Why would Wang do that all over again for all the fan appreciation/season ticket increases it never brought him for Yashin, Peca, DiPietro, Tavares, countless others over the years, with a new group on the current club all signed long-term?
Vanek went from playing in front of 18,000 on a Monday night in Buffalo with a last place team, to an announced 10,000 that looks like seven thousand at the Coliseum for a team that made the playoffs with Tavares a serious MVP candidate?
It's not even close to sold out on weekends either unless the Coliseum is filled with another teams fans.
Now Vanek's is with a defense that has not scored one even strength goal, that cannot hide it's struggling defenders, and was hanging on in their own zone with Strait/Visnovsky healthy.
There is nothing in Bridgeport to solve this, no more first rounders to upgrade that unit in 2013-14.
Thomas Vanek's going to sign up for this long-term here when there are corporate teams that will surround him with franchise changing veterans, as payrolls climb toward a hundred million dollars by the end of this CBA on a yearly basis.
So What's The Worst That Can Happen?
1-Vanek leaves a competitive Islander team at the end of the season that fails to make the playoffs with no trade deadline return because they kept him, and continued to compete for a playoff spot.
That's been the trend here with lesser talents.
Ok, so this means the Isles pick Buffalo now has is likely a 10-15 pick in a draft not very deep with Strome, Lee, Nelson (others) waiting for a chance. Kind of where Edmonton selected with the Islanders 2007 playoff seed at #16.
2-The wheels continue to fall off defensively, it is a lottery team. Snow get's back his first rounder plus more at the trade deadline which is a big downgrade from that potential lottery pick, but salvages something.
That's where I see this going.
Matt Moulson is an excellent hockey player with one skill set. (yes, I get he doubled his five on five goals for Buffalo in one game) he had one five on five goal in the opener vs Columbus, one assist with the goalie pulled vs Carolina. (not sure why NHL did not credit him with a five on five goal vs Philadelphia)
Thomas Vanek brings a different skill set that will open more room on the ice for John Tavares, who's not had any room to operate, even on the power-play with one goal.
Did anything Sunday improve Snow's huge weaknesses on defense? No.
That's why I believe we are looking at the worst of what can happen. Even the struggling teams in this conference can play some games where they give up two goals or less.
The Rangers, Devils, Flyers lose low scoring games. The 2013-14 New York Islanders have not demonstrated this ability unless the other team self-implodes or Nabokov keeps them close.
The five hundred record has been about special teams or players performing above their career resume, little else.
How did they go 11-1-2 a year ago? Defense, low/quality shots against, and a different line finding a way to produce.
That team is not this team in anything but name.